Coffee And Curiosity

"There's a quiet spirit in this space, where words - wrought into an ethereal cadence, depicts the scale of tenderness and turmoil that dwells in the beauty of self expression."

Jonas Brothers bring a festival of fun, fire and nostalgia to 3Arena, Dublin

Fresh off a 7-year hiatus, multi-platinum American pop-rock group Jonas Brothers brought their convivial comeback to 3Arena, Dublin, with a carnival of fire, video interludes and a dizzying discotheque of pulsing neon lights. To welcome them to their highly anticipated sell-out gig stood 13,000 nostalgia-ridden 20-something's uniting in unison with loud, excitable cries for the curly-locked then-teenage heartthrobs whose faces once lined the walls of their bedroom, creating an inescapable energy of elation.

Intermittently weaving old award-winning tunes such as 2008’s “When You Look Me In The Eyes” with their Grammys-nominated “Sucker” off their 2019 comeback album Happiness Begins, no fan – old or new – could leave disappointed for want of a certain song. Between bounds of choice early singles, dazzling pyrotechnics and periodic costume changes they even made time to pay tribute to each of their solo careers by sharing the lyrics to Nick’s “Paranoid” and Joe’s ludicrously catchy “Cake By The Ocean”, where it was discovered that the extra pizazz these songs had been missing all along was nothing more than the presence of fraternity and brotherly affection.

Despite the fact that they spoke very little to the audience between songs – which, in my opinion, was the most disappointing part of the show – it did not seem to matter, as the 90-minute set still maintained a vibe of intimacy; like the 3 were performing for a collective group of close friends and family rather than 13,000 adoring fans. An exhilarating encore ushered in the highlight of the entire evening when, after a brief moment of darkness, fire shoots from the stage and set alight the hearts of every engrossed fan in the room as esteemed 2013 classic “Burnin’ Up” reverberated throughout, concluding the event on a high and sporadic bursts of multicoloured confetti.

To anybody who, like me, hopes one day to work within the creative industry, I would strongly advise you attend Belfast's annual media festival

Belfast Media Festival’s two-day 10th-anniversary-spectacular took flight, ushering in a balayage of students, freelancers, journalists, broadcasters and commissioners alike on mass. On the 6th November the MAC, situated in the heart of Belfast, was set alight with animation by the reverberation of buoyant voices and the hubble-bubble of guests. Whatever apprehension and uncertainty I possessed directly before entering the sliding glass doors to the event took leave almost instantly, as I set forth to collect my lanyard, name tag and generously-endowed gift bag.

20 sessions were held over the course of the day, each tailored to different interests or levels of expertise, yet all keeping to the theme of working within the creative industry; thus, inspiring the students in attendance who will, one day, inhabit them. Each talk was as insightful and enlightening as the next – and, although I only attended 5, I left that night feeling inspired, introspective and exhilarated from having made such an abundance of connections and, to my surprise, a handful of new, like-minded friends.

My commendation goes to William Crawley, the cunning craftsman of the event, and for inviting innovative individuals to unite unanimously in the celebration of the creative industry’s successes and sculpture of integral values.

A tour of Stallwächterparty, Germany's most prestigious political event of the year

Round trays are carried amongst a sea of lavish dresses and proud chins, offering assortments of champagne, wine and localised, aesthetically pleasing snacks which, to me, almost appeared too good to eat:- ‘almost’ being the operative word.

Rich alto sounds from Sax as improvisational jazz plays and quiet excitement reverberates from guests as they explore the sights, stalls and innovations that are set out to be discovered. Ethnic foods, drink and contraptions originating from one European country to the next, fitting with the theme – The Heart of Europe.

To be present at the prodigious Stallwächterparty is something remarkable:- you are amongst the elite. Esteemed politicians, entrepreneurs and representatives of economy, as well as renowned artists from film, television and theatre. No other event that I know of would give you the opportunity to meet and speak with these high-ranking individuals in such an affable, easy-going environment.

Let me tell you a little about the origins of the event:- since 1964, Stallwächterparty has been held as an annual summer party, in celebration of the upcoming parliamentary summer break. Following the invitation of the Prime Minister and the federal state representation of Baden-Wurttemberg, over 1,800 eminent guests are in attendance. The mixture of enlightening experiences and exciting networking opportunities make this one of the most important events in the federal capital. As the unit of invited bloggers – and myself – are lead on a tour of Landesvertretung Baden-Württemberg (the administration of Baden-Württemberg), this stood emphatically at the forefront of my mind. I think to myself, “I, mere and little in comparison to the colourful and prospering personalities I stand beside, stand beside them still. How in the world has this happened?” Honoured and a little giddy from the privilege, I glided on, absorbing ubiquitous spirit, scent and spectacles.

The reason I was invited was to represent Northern Ireland in collaboration with the theme, ‘The Heart of Europe”. Essentially, this is a celebration of the coalition between Baden-Württemberg and other European countries, and how one would not be able to thrive without the other. Naturally, I startled at the sentiment and found myself feeling a little sad. As a socialist and a remainer, the omnipresent threat of Brexit is an emotional battle with worries of epidemic suffering that it will cause if we do, in fact, leave the European Union on the 31st October. How chillingly fitting, to schedule a national nightmare to occur on All Hallow’s Eve. Powerful media manipulation is driving the British elite’s agenda into total neo-liberalism. Flooding us with private American companies and stripping us of assets. The putting up of walls and borders rather than building bridges, to me, seems distressingly targeted and regressive. And what of our next British Prime Minister? He will be selected by just 0.3% of the public, or, more specifically, by the conservative membership. Then, despite this, to be welcomed so warmly by the state representation of Baden-Württemberg and unite unanimously in their celebration of Europe’s collective assemblage of values and successes. The progression of sharing and exploring new ideas to shape our economic community for the better begins in the hearts of its inhabitants who deeply seek the sculpting of Europe from within. Yes, it made me feel a little sad indeed. Though, with the mixture of melodic music and the hubble-bubble of guests intermingling and exploring the varied programme of the event, it was hard to remain in that particular frame of mind.

To be an aspiring journalist, I am beginning to find, is to be swept along in a sea of unfamiliarity. In order to keep your head above water, it is imperative to not fight against the tide but, rather, relax in the knowledge that you will wash up exactly where you need to be. Saying ‘yes’ is important, to be open to new adventures that at first seem frightening and a little out of your comfort zone. Above all, communication and the hankering for knowledge is key. To stay humble in a tumultuous world is both art and a blessing, from which rewards will always be bestowed through experiences that appear somewhat unbelievable. You may find yourself amongst a sea of lavish dresses and proud chins, graciously accepting a glass of champagne from a round platter and mingling amongst innovative individuals, in a country you always dreamt of visiting.

Danke, Stallwachterparty. It was an honour and pleasure.